Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe, located on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain borders Portugal from the north and east, while the Atlantic Sea borders it from the south and west. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal. Portugal is part of the European Union and a well-developed country with a good infrastructure. The population is approximately 10 million people, with the capital of Lisbon the most densely populated area.
In the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America, lies The Azores. They are made up of nine islands - São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo. It takes around 2 hours by plane to reach them from Portugal. The Madeira Archipelago is also in the Atlantic Ocean and it takes 1 ½ hours to get there by plane from Lisbon. It consists of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, and the two uninhabited nature reserve islands of Desertas and Selvagens.
Portugal has a mild climate, with a recorded 3000 hours of sunshine per year. This, coupled with the amount of gorgeous beaches along the Atlantic coastline, makes Portugal a great holiday and scuba diving destination. The climate does vary from region to region, with proximity to the sea creating a milder climate. Inland, nearby Spain, the winters are cold, and there is some snowfall; the summers are hot and dry. Along the coastline, it is much milder with sea temperatures ranging from 13 ºC-18 ºC on the west coast, and 15 ºC-26 ºC on the south coast.
The Mediterranean climate means that air temperatures are mild in the Azores year round. The sea temperature is comfortable both in winter and summer, making it an ideal destination for nautical sports and scuba diving. Due to its geographical position and mountainous terrain, the Madeira archipelago experiences a subtropical climate with temperatures varying between 24ºC in summer and 19ºC in winter. The sea temperature in both the Azores and Madeira varies between 17ºC-26ºC , which is pleasant for scuba diving with a 5-7mm wetsuit or drysuit.
Mountaineering, horse-riding, surfing, scuba diving and cycling – these are just some of the outdoor activities that visitors can enjoy when in Portugal. The sheer array of recreational sports, and a fascinating cultural heritage, make Portugal a wonderful year round destination. Experience the hospitable people, delicious cuisine, and high quality beaches and resorts.
On mainland Portugal, the Berlengas Island Nature Reserve in Peniche is a popular diving destination. Close to the Arrábida Natural Park, Sesimbra is another good diving destination. Further south, the Alentejo coast and the Algarve coast offer holiday diving locations with a diverse and healthy underwater world.
Berlenga Nature Reserve is an archipelago made up of the island of Berlenga, and the adjacent reefs of Estelas and Farilhões-Forcadas. Excellent visibility and varied marine life attract all levels of divers to the numerous dive sites. Huge schools of White Sea bream and ocean sunfish are a major attraction. There are also a variety of wrecks and caves to explore, such as Furado Grande.
About 40km south of Lisbon, lies Sesimbra - another popular diving spot on mainland Portugal. Sesimbra is on the edge of the Arrábida Natural Park and is a protected marine area. Divers can find a good selection of fish, sea urchins, and starfish amongst the interesting underwater topography of platforms, crevices, and cavities.
The Azores archipelago is considered one of the best diving destinations in Portugal. All of the islands have something special to offer. Visibility can reach up to 30 metres and the diving is year round, although the best time is the summer. Large caves and archways provide breathtaking scenery for divers, and the volcanic history of the area has created spectacular underwater landscapes. Divers can experience the underwater thermal springs that also attract scientific diving excursions. The numerous shipwrecks are home to amberjacks and goliath groupers. Lucky divers also get to see groups of manta rays. With so many amazing sites around the islands, divers will never be bored! The islands of Flores and Graciosa are perfect for diving - Terceira and São Miguel are also very popular.
Madeira is a very attractive diving destination for all levels. The visibility can reach 20 metres, and there is a wide diversity of species such as goliath groupers, rays, moray eels, dolphins, and manta rays. Funchal has lots of good diving spots such as the Clube Naval. The Garajau Nature Reserve is fabulous to dive and well-known for its large goliath grouper (jewfish) colony. Good dive sites are Corais Negros, Pão de Açúcar, Garajau Baía, Garajau Este, Recife dos Monges, and Gruta dos Reis Magos.
Portugal has many international airports throughout the country and islands. The major airports are located in Lisbon, Oporto, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada (Azores). Several Portuguese airlines offer regular domestic and international flights. TAP – Air Portugal serves more than 50 international destinations and domestic airports. SATA has regular flights between mainland Portugal, the islands of the Azores, and Madeira, as well as some international flights.
Portugal has a highly developed road system, making it easy to travel by coach, car, or bus between the regions. Comboios de Portugal (CP) is the Portuguese railway company. They offer a large rail network, which covers the whole of mainland Portugal. CP also offers international train services to Vigo, Madrid, and Paris.
Portugal has 8 registered PADI operators; they range from PADI Dive Resorts to PADI 5 Star IDC Centres. The Azores has five PADI operators, and Madeira has three PADI operators. All of the PADI centres offer the full range of guided diving trips, certification courses from beginner upwards, rental equipment, and nitrox. Many of the dive centres offer technical diving support and trimix gas mixing facilities.
Haliotis is a PADI 5 Star IDC Centre with three bases in Peniche, Sesimbra and Santa Maria. They come highly recommended on review sites and have full service dive centres catering to novices all through to technical divers. They have three semi-rigid boats ranging from 7.5 metres to 12 metres and fully-stocked shops. Haliotis is registered with Disabled Diver International. They run annual trips to Madeira and the Azores, and visit the archipelago nature reserve of Berlengas.
Nautilus-Sub is a PADI 5 Star IDC Centre with two bases in Lisbon and in Sesimbra. They were the first dive centre in Portugal. The office, training rooms, and pool are in Lisbon, and the dive centre is in Sesimbra. The dive centre offers rental equipment, air and nitrox fills, and there is an equipment shop too. Technical and rebreather diving is supported. Nautilus-Sub offers all certification courses and guided/ non-guided diving trips on a choice of six boats. Their boats range from 6.5 metre semi-rigid powerboats up to 10.5 metre fiberglass motorboats.
Madeira Divepoint is based on the island of Funchal and is a PADI 5 Star Dive Resort. They have an 8.5 metre fiberglass powerboat and offer daily guided diving excursions, and the full range of PADI courses and equipment rental. Arraira Divers is an international PADI 5 Star IDC and TecRec centre located at Hotel do Caracol, Terceira, in the Azores. They run daily guided diving trips and teach PADI courses up to the Instructor level. Technical courses, including trimix, are available.
Fill in the Form Below.
Our hand picked regional partners will deliver no obligation quotes.